Monday morning and training with J, always a good start to my week. He had mentioned to he last Thursday that there would be some new stuff today, so I was expecting a new List with perhaps some new or different ways of doing things. As usual, I was not disappointed.

From today’s List:

  • Alt Seated Side Laterals
  • T-stab (arm rotation) Push Ups (slight bend)
  • TRX Y
  • Front Alt Raise w/ Side Step (raise and step same side)
  • 1-arm Lying Chest Press from Stability Ball
  • Band Leaning Pull Ins (high anchor split stance)
  • 1-arm DB OH Press (split stance press=lead)
  • Bird Dog Holds
  • Band Chest Flyes
  • Good Mornings (bar across back/hip hinge)
  • Any Push Ups (used TRX)
  • Advanced Plank Holds (pushup position, 1 leg raised)

There is yet another block to this List, but we did not get to it today. I can wait. I have plenty to ponder and obsess about until we get around to it. This was indeed a new learning day. Some of the movements were familiar and from other Lists, but there was enough new or variation layered in that I classify this as a teaching session.

I cannot tell how long it has been since something brand new has entered into the List fold to warrant the teaching session label, but it certainly feels like a long while. And I feel like a new and different trainee in my reaction and responses to the new stuff.

In the plot of space inside my head where negative girl dwells locked away in her cage, I let myself stop and listen closely and strain to hear the faint bleating of a how I completely, totally sucked at the new and returning after extended absence items on my list. The tone is familiar – a notes of shame and humiliation in the tone and subtext of her words, the despair and absence of hope for improvement, the directives to quit now while it is only this embarrassing and this humiliating to be this bad at exercise.  I listened very closely. I heard the words, the tones, the disgust in her voice.

And I wonder who that is that still locked up inside my mind? I remember the days when this was the endless feedback loop after every training and most of my initial attempts to replicate what J was trying to teach. But she seems like someone else, someone I know or knew yet consciously choose not to associate with, because she brings me down and makes me feel crappy (rather than happy) about myself and all my efforts in the exercise realm. Negative girl undermines and compromises my willingness to put myself out there and try new stuff. Try to practice. Try to get it. Try to improve. And I cannot have that, not anymore.

There were new challenges today, and I certainly do not feel like a failure. I am not ashamed for not being instantly successful with new things. There is no humiliation, disgust, despair, or embarrassment running through my thoughts or impacting my performance and ridiculously cheerful mood. If J was thinking or feeling anything of the sort he is always far too professional to display it.

The only thing I find humiliating or shameful is that I might regress backward and become too fearful to try. I have enjoyed significant success and felt my confidence soar to new heights beyond the clouds of my limited imaginings. I still have my nemesis stable of exercises; I also have my arch nemesis. But I work at them every week, and sometimes if they really bug me I try to perform at least a single rep successfully every single day (which in reality could consist of multiple unsuccessful attempts first) before leaving the gym.

And in line with that, truly the only thing remotely similar to failure or regret that I feel – I wish I had tried harder to hang with the last planks. And even that, I can categorize it as vague disappointment, learning about limits and what I am truly capable of doing, how hard I can or should push myself. Fatigue is an interesting thing, particularly with the upper body work. My brain thinks everything is fine, but my arm reaches a point where it says “no more!” My arms and shoulders were so tired, but maybe if I had not given in to the fatigue I would have come away feeling even more awesome and powerful and a flourishing student in Wonder Woman school. Or maybe my shoulders and upper arms would ache even more. Legs do it as well, but I always seem to reach my rep count before fatigue settles in completely.

As I grow more competent I find the struggle to identify what is real fatigue versus me not wanting to go further remains. I still judge myself pretty harshly in this regard. And if that is truly as bad as I get with shredding myself, I am doing fine. At least I was not sprawled out on the mat and refusing to get up, period. In the back of my mind that always seems like really great idea and therefore within the realm of possibility. The spoiled princess dwelling within me is pretty well contained most of the time, thankfully.

Perhaps my type B+ personality is more on display, but if I were capable of mastering brand new stuff immediately out of the box I would probably not be training with J twice weekly for months now. Examining my thoughts and emotions about this morning, I would say I am mostly curious, intrigued, and unwilling (versus unable – big difference in my mind) to push forward on newest new things on my own right now. It’s not my old version of crazy brain fear or anxiety that holds me back; it is a lack of depth in understanding how to be effective in the individual exercise. My current biggest fear in the gym is an injury that makes me have to stop my practice and training. I feel particularly vulnerable to it when I have failed to pay close enough attention to or acquire appropriate knowledge of potential consequences. Without that, I cannot diagnose for myself where I am faltering going through the steps of the new movements. Fortunately I have become quite comfortable with throwing myself on the mercy of J’s expertise rather than bumbling along on my own and staying ignorant and not getting it, potentially harming myself or others in my path.

Funny thing about the chest press from the stability ball. When I got home and was providing M the readers’ digest version of my session, the first thing he said was “J knows you refer to it as the instability ball for a reason and was not surprised when you fell off it?” No question in his mind that I did, in fact fall off it. But only once! J then corrected me on holding the 20 lb. dumbbell while setting up, and by the second set I was doing better with it. This is not one of those things I lack understanding about, because M and I have had one of these balls at home for years and years and I have fallen off of it in various ways many, many times. Even friend J, who is in my email demanding asking for details within an hour after my sessions conclude most Mondays and Thursdays, said the same thing when I mentioned the ball, only his questions were “how many times did you fall off it?” and “did you hit your head on anything this time?” *eye roll* Oh well; I am a predictable creature of clumsy habit.

Embarrassed? Humiliated? Mortified? Not at all. I actually did not have to suppress an impulse to give it much thought other than scrambling back to my feet and trying again. I watched J demonstrate and explain the correct way to hold the dumbbell while setting up, and then paid very close attention to what I was doing while going through it myself the next time. I would like to be more graceful about my dismount rather than simply plopping my ass on the ground, but it worked for today. There remains a lot of room for improvement in this exercise. I know my hips were dropping as I focused on what my arm and the pressing upward motion was doing to me and to the ball. But improvement comes with practice, and I will get there.

How cool is it that I am not obsessing over the learning curves and simply looking ahead to practice and future improvement? Big 180 from my initial training forays.

The new T-stabs and good mornings … I have my reservations right now. The T-stabs because they are hard and I’m not 100% sure on form yet. I have done similar things in prior yoga classes, but it has been awhile. And I never felt like I understood what muscle groups should be doing the heavy lifting. The good mornings, I feel like I have the basic movement down well enough with some minor concerns about setting the bar correctly. Perhaps I will just work at positioning the bar across the shoulders first and then practice the hinging. Either way, there is no rush. I can go slowly, take my time with these. Or not. If I start having doubts or start freaking myself out, I’ll wait for review day. It is not as if I have no other Lists for practice.

And of course I cannot help wondering – is there an exercise labeled bad mornings?

Tomorrow is my lower body List rotation, because I am feeling the need and desire for a cardio win day and this one always does that for me. I will likely work at the bird dogs and the planks, both of which have been in the rotation before. However, my version of bird dog hold is more like deranged dog quiver, since my mind seems to be having issues with the opposite arm/leg positioning. The pushups will likely find their way to being tacked on to the end of the lower body list, because they teeter on the edge of release from the nemesis stable right now.

I probably need to plan on arriving earlier than usual to accommodate the extra stuff I would like to try. But even at the earlier start and doing this stuff at the beginning of my day, it is all very, very good. I then have the rest of my hours to back-burner ponder what went right, what went more imperfectly than other things.

I’m working on this post from under the dryer at my hair salon while texting with another friend. Multitasking at its finest. This is today’s reason for the typos and grammatical errors I am not going to catch before pressing publish.

It was a fun morning. For whatever reason, Monday tends to energize me for the rest of the week, getting back to the gym and back in to practice. And now that I have had most of the day to reflect on the new stuff, I feel better about it. I will overcome my hesitancy and master these things.

My week as a pseudo-vegetarian is coming up in another post, probably tomorrow, so not a lot to report as far as diet explorations and experiments. I am doing okay with my eating, still imperfect, still not overly obsessing about it when I possibly should be starting to panic or something else. But where it matters – my A1c – I’m doing very well. Next month will be full labs so I’ll know how all my other internal systems are functioning and progressing, conversation with my present endocrinologist, and a much better understanding of how my insides are doing (improving, I hope!) before I panic about not doing more to further burn more fat or otherwise alter my body shape.

RD is sharpening his pencil on my meal plans, and I will feel better after blasting through a lower body/cardio blast tomorrow. My current mild level of distress can be traced back directly to the fancy-smancy heart rate monitor. Every time I plug it into my laptop to charge it downloads the information about my sessions and days’ activities and the sneaky thing about it is that I now have a few months of measurements and data to look at when it downloads and charges. I do not feel like I am failing or even faltering, but I can pick out the days when I did a lot of lower body or even sets of walking lunges. It seems the things that I find the most challenging and like the least are the big heaters in the calorie burning and heart rate elevating. Yoga and pilates are not quite so showy in this regard, and I just remind myself when I start to furrow the brow over it that there is no finish line in my future and to just keep moving. I also tell myself that those readings are completely meaningless to me, because in truth, I have not framework of context to plug them into right now and therefore am indulging in a freak-out over essentially nothing. I do not count calories consumed, so why would I bother worrying about calories burned?

So I will force myself to stop looking at the day’s results each evening when I take it off my wrist. The watch only needs to be charged every couple of weeks, so I am going to return to the habit of letting it tell me it needs to be charged before plugging it in. When it comes to this type of stuff, ignorance truly is bliss.

Hope you all have a fantastic week!




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